Friday, November 20, 2009

Spaghetti squash with kale & tomatoes

This dish has become pretty common here. For one thing, we've been getting a lot of spaghetti squashes in the CSA, and for another, it's quick, easy, and awesome. I really love the combo of the butter on the squash with the tomato sauce; it really comes together on your plate. My only gripe with this dish is that sometimes I'm hungry again about two hours after eating it. It's always filling at dinner, but spaghetti squash is pretty low calories. Just plan on dessert a while after eating this for dinner. Alternatively, it's probably a good diet dinner (but lacking in protein as written - see also the variations). This goes well with a nice salad - we had it with a green salad with roasted beets the other night.

1 spaghetti squash, or 2 "mini-ghettis"
2 T. butter
salt and pepper
chopped parsley
A little olive oil
1 onion, sliced or chopped and/or a few shallots, chopped
1 bunch kale, washed, stems removed, roughly torn into manageable pieces
3-6 cloves garlic, chopped
1 28 oz. can tomatoes
splash (~1/4 c) red wine
optional: chopped fresh herbs
freshly grated parmesan cheese

1. Slice the spaghetti squash in half. Scoop out the seeds. Place the two halves cut side down in a microwave safe dish with 1/4" of water. It's okay if they don't both fit on the bottom of the dish.
2. Microwave the squash for 8 minutes. If you can depress the skin of the squash, it's done. Cook for additional 2 minute increments if it needs more time. Total cook time will vary based on microwave strength, but it probably won't be less than 8 minutes or more than 12.
3. Let it cool for a while. Once cool enough to handle, use a fork to separate the strands, and then a spoon to move all the strands into a serving bowl. Toss with butter, S&P, and optional parsley.
4. Meanwhile, heat a little olive oil in a large (non-cast iron) skillet over medium heat, sautee onion and/or shallot till translucent.
5. Add kale and garlic. Stir frequently for a few minutes, till the kale is starting to wilt and the garlic is starting to small nice.
6. Add a few tablespoonfuls of water, cover, and reduce to low heat. Cook for about 10 minutes, till kale is pretty tender but still textural and somewhat chewy.
7. Add wine and tomatoes and simmer for about 10 minutes, till the tomatoes start to lose their acidity and turn a deeper color of red. Remove the lid is you prefer a thicker stew. Stir in herbs, if using, at the end of the simmer. Season with additional S&P.
8. If necessary reheat the sphagetti squash in the microwave, and serve. Top with lots of parmesan.

-For herbs, I think rosemary or sage would be nice, as would any combination of basil, marjoram, oregano, parsley, herbes de provence.
-Use eggplant in addition or instead of kale for a ratatouille-like sauce; I've had it this way too, works really well.
-Add chunks of sausage, or tempeh. Or serve with grilled or seared shrimp or sea scallops.

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